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Photo courtesy of Rob Astorino's office
Photo courtesy of Rob Astorino's office

Astorino brings gubernatorial challenge to the North Country

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Last month, Rob Astorino announced his campaign to unseat Andrew Cuomo in the coming race for governor. The Republican candidate faces obvious challenges: lack of name recognition, Cuomo's high approval ratings and the governor's huge campaign fund. But Astorino brings his own kind of impressive track record. He recently won a second term as Westchester County executive by a wide margin, in a county that has more Democrats than Republicans.

Astorino has seven months to get his name out there and get voters on his side, which means a lot of handshaking and a lot of conversations Yesterday he came to Franklin County, kicking the morning off in North Bangor.

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Reported by

Natasha Haverty
Reporter and Producer

It’s a warm morning here in North Bangor, with winds strong enough to blow open the metal doors of the Volunteer Fire Department. Boxes of donuts and coffee cover the counter in back, and a small group of twenty or so people waits to meet the man who wants to be their next governor. 

Photo: Natasha Haverty
Photo: Natasha Haverty
 And at the center of the room, there’s Rob Astorino—standing, smiling. He wears a gray pinstriped suit and a royal blue tie.

“Well it’s a simple question that I ask everybody, is New York winning or is New York losing? And I think by any objective standard New York is losing and losing badly.”

Here are the three big ways Astorino says New York State is losing badly:

High taxes, government corruption, and a reason he hit on over and over: too many people he says are leaving New York for other states, and better prospects.­

“And losing looks like that little child who is crying, holding on to her doll, because they’re getting in the car and saying goodbye to the last time to their friends.” 

Photo: Natasha Haverty
Photo: Natasha Haverty
 Astorino paints lots of emotional pictures like this. Though he says there is one New Yorker he would like to see leave: 

“This is not the race the governor wanted. And we’re not just going to give him a run for his money but we’re going to run him out of town." 

Astorino also says he would permit hydrofracking to start immediately, and that he would repeal New York’s New Gun Control act. Astorino is from pretty far downstate, but he says he wants to help communities all across the state.

Astorino says he started his campaign in New York City, in the Bronx.

“And in many ways, the Bronx is no different than Franklin County.”

He says people in both communities want good education, and good jobs.

Tom Fischer of St. Regis Falls sits toward the back, at a table all to himself. When Astorino finishes his talk, Fischer is the first to raise his hand with a question—he wants to know how the candidate actually plans to make more jobs here in northern New York. 

“The question I asked him he really didn’t answer. So you know, time will tell, we’ll see what he says down the road.”

Fischer says he still hasn’t made his mind up.

“W­­­e need a new governor! And we need somebody that’s gonna look out for the state! And not this junk we’re getting out of Albany right now. “

By 9:30, Astorino and his group are out the door, on their way to the next stop, and for a minute it’s just Terry Trudeau of Moira and a couple of his friends standing in here. Trudeau turns to me and confesses that even though he’s been voting Republican for four decades, that doesn’t mean he’s sure about Astorino.

“It’s alright to speak against what the other guy isn’t doing. I wanna know what we’re gonna do to strengthen and make this a better place to live.” 

Astorino told the group that he plans to come back to the north country soon, and often in the coming months. 

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